Waste from households in the London area is being used to generate power in the South West and is transported there by rail.
Six days a week, the waste from 1.6 million residents of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond-upon-Thames is carried 110 miles from waste transfer stations in Northolt and Brentford to the Severnside Energy Recovery Facility in Avonmouth.
A total of more than 300,000 tonnes of waste is transported to Severnside every year, where it is used to generate about 34 megawatts of power – enough to power 50,000 homes.
Using this waste to generate power stops it going to landfill and transporting it by train means fewer lorries on the road.
The Severnside Energy Recovery Facility is operated by Suez Environmental with freight operator, DB Cargo, responsible for moving the waste. The waste transfer stations in Northolt and Brentford are operated by West London Waste Authority.
Stephen Wallbank, senior freight manager for Network Rail, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic we are doing all we can to keep vital services running.
“Transporting waste from London to Avonmouth prevents it from going to landfill and helps to create enough renewable energy to power 50,000 homes.
“Our rail workers are doing a vital job in challenging circumstances. They are keeping the railway open for people whose journeys are essential, and critical freight supplies.”
DB Cargo UK’s Head of Industrial Sales, Andrew Sumner, said: “We are extremely proud to continue supporting SUEZ recycling and recovery UK by transporting household waste from London, Merseyside and Halton to their energy from waste plants.
“The plants use waste for the production of renewable energy to help power homes and businesses in the UK. The need to remove waste and generate power in an environmentally friendly manner could not be more critical during these difficult times and our front-line staff are working hard throughout this unprecedented time to ensure the trains continue to operate.”